The practice session for the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours was red flagged on Wednesday after a serious crash involving the No 1 Audi of Loic Duval, leaving his R18 E-Tron Quattro heavily damaged after making heavy contact with the concrete barrier at the Porsche Curves.
Duval, who is partnered this year by Tom Kristensen and Lucas Di Grassi, had gone second fastest of the session behind the Toyota of Great Britain’s Anthony Davidson. But a heavy accident that saw Duval’s Audi reduced to a wreckage brought out the red flag, and after a brief delay the Frenchman was extracted from the car and taken away in an ambulance.
Audi tweeted that Duval was "alert" following the incident but was being taken to hospital.
Audi will have to mount a complete rebuild of the R18 E-Tron Quattro before Saturday’s race, where drivers will compete in threes for 24 hours in the most prestigious race on the motorsport calendar.
Duval was part of the race-winning team last year when he secured his first win around the Circuit de la Sarthe alongside Kristensen and Scot Allan McNish. Kristensen remains the most successful driver ever to compete at Le Mans having won nine times since his debut in 1997.
The crash brought back harrowing memories of the 2013 race, when a tragic accident on the Mulsanne straight claimed the life of Aston Martin driver Allan Simonsen.